Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Amendment, in its legal signification, any correction or other alteration in the written or printed record of judicial proceedings. In early periods of English history the pleadings between the parties were conducted orally at the bar of the court by their respective advocates. If any mistake occurred it was at once corrected upon a suggestion made to the court. When this state of things ceased, and written pleadings came into use, the same indulgence as to amendments was continued, and the power to do this is now much extended under the Judicature and Court of Session Acts, and the practice consequently improved and simplified, both in England and Scotland. There is, however, in criminal proceedings, much less power as to amendments, and far greater strictness is observed in the practice. In the United States the alterations made in the constitution are termed "amendments." The Senate has power to amend money Bills passed by the House of Representatives, but cannot originate same. The term is also applicable to the Acts of the British Legislature, and implies any alteration in a Bill, question, or motion. before the House of Lords or Commons. Notice of moving an amendment need not be given, although it usually is. The amendment must be relative to the motion or question before the House. Amendments are not usual at the first reading of a Bill. The term is lastly applicable to a proposal brought forward at a public meeting, modifying the original motion or proposition by the introduction of an alteration in same, or entirely overturning the original motion. The opinion of the meeting is generally taken upon the amendments as they are successively made, and lastly upon the original motion or proposition. Amendments may be made so as totally to alter the nature and effect of the proposition, and this is a way of getting rid of a proposition, by making it bear a sense not intended by the movers, who are thus compelled to abandon it.